Every week, I like to pass along some of the most interesting and entertaining stories happening in the unconventional investing world.
The sorts of stories that go great with a quiet morning, some form of drink — preferably ice cold right now — and a little time and space to let thoughts unfold.
Relax, read, enjoy.
I Told My Mom to Save My Concert Tees
There’s a new online shopping giant, and you’ve never heard of it. Mostly because — sorry old-timer — you just aren’t cool enough.
Don’t worry — neither am I.
The app or platform or portal — whatever you want to call it — is Depop. It’s basically an online thrift store — and it’s wildly popular with Gen Z (those born in the mid-’90s or later).
It’s been described as a cross between eBay and Instagram, but that doesn’t fully capture the ethos. There’s a bubbly, happy brightness with just enough staging and selfie looks that it feels like it was inevitable.
And that’s probably why it’s taken off so fast.
Fast enough that some Gen Zers are quitting college to work Depop full time. Why not? They’re pulling in six figures on a site that is still basically invisible to everyone over 25.
That will likely change over time, once the dinosaurs start to invade. And eventually, a behemoth like Amazon or eBay will probably gobble it up and try to make it hip — right around the time the young leave it behind.
But for now, Depop is one of the more exciting spaces in online reselling. Styles from the late ’90s and early aughts (collectively called Y2K in the Depop fashion parlance) are extremely in.
If you, your kids or grandkids have desirable clothes in good condition they’ve outgrown, you might be able to clean out your closet and turn that clutter into cash.
You can even buy some nice nostalgia pieces there, if you like.
Whatever you do, just don’t tell your friends about it. The sooner us old folks invade, the sooner Depop goes away.
Well, That Escalated Quickly…
Remember last week when I mentioned that the first and oldest Porsche was going up on the auction block?
So that didn’t work out too well — in a way that would be comical if millions of dollars weren’t at stake.
It appears the auctioneer had some sort of brain fart during the auction. For a car that was estimated to go for $20 million, with bidding to open at $13 million, the Dutch auctioneer was misheard and bidding opened at… $30 million.
There was a frenzy of misinterpreted bidding, $14 million being heard as $40 million, and the auctioneers said eventually someone made a $70 million bid.
The crowd gasped — then grew incredibly irate when the auctioneer corrected himself and said the bid was actually for $17 million (which, of course, was below the initial opening he’d suggested).
At that point, the entire sale fell apart. It’s been called one of the biggest auction blunders in history. In all the chaos, the car was never sold.
I’m sure it will sell during the next attempt — will it hit $20 million? We’ll see.
After a decade of dominating collectibles, the returns on rare antique cars have cooled off a bit recently. They’re still quite good — but we may be a few years off from seeing records routinely shattered again.
An Interesting Angle on Job Creation
When someone hands you a used pair of sneakers, what’s the last thing you want to do?
Me — I certainly wouldn’t hold the opening up to my nose and take a deep whiff. But that’s exactly what Zac, sneaker inspector and authenticator for Stadium Goods, does.
His job is a brand-new one — made possible because the sneaker market is exploding. The secondary market is already worth up to $1 billion a year and growing rapidly.
We’ve covered this underreported corner of the investment-worthy collectibles market before. And we will again. Because as outfits like GQ catch on, you know this market is only going to grow in the public imagination. And — not coincidentally — in value.
It Was Just a Matter of Time
Whenever there’s a major data breach, we’ll often highlight it here and recommend ways to protect yourself.
But there are some data breaches so deep and so personal there’s not a lot you can do. And the first of these just happened.
What makes this breach special isn’t the size — only around a million people were exposed, which is nothing compared with most of breaches we see these days — it’s the type.
You see, this breach doesn’t just involve passwords and user names.
And that’s bad. Changing your password is an annoyance, but there’s not much you can do if someone has — and can replicate — your fingerprint.
This breach happened in the U.K., so odds are your information is safe — for now.
What can you do to protect it? The best move at this point is to limit how many companies have access to your info in the first place — especially if it’s kept in a cloud database.
Apple products open with facial recognition and fingerprints, for instance — but that info is only kept on individual pieces of tech like your iPhone.
But if you give your fingerprints to a lock company, for instance — the better to quickly open doors — and that company has a few million accounts in an unsecure database… now you’re in trouble.
Bottom line — give up your personal biometric data very sparingly. You definitely don’t want to live in a world where your fingerprints are out there.
Editor-in-chief, Unconventional Wealth
P.S. Want to know other steps you can take to safeguard your information? This company has a complete plan to protect its customers — soup to nuts. Check it out — it’s better to have it and not need it than… well, you know the rest.
(Editor’s Note: We do receive compensation when you buy from our partners — that’s how we keep the lights on. But we only choose partners we believe in and use ourselves — so you can rest assured, our recommendations are real.)
Ryan Cole is the editor-in-chief of Unconventional Wealth. He’s been covering the alternative investment space for nearly a decade and writing about finance and investment for almost 20 years.
Ryan has walked the walk for years, living a very unconventional life. He’s led snowmobile tours through the mountains of Colorado, settled in Japan for five...